Halloween Games

Here are some Halloween games. The grade levels are suggested. However, they can be adjusted up or down.

Ghost Tag - Grades 3 and up - Cut up some old white sheets. You can also use dryer sheets and rubber bands with tennis type balls. Tie some pieces of the sheet around 5 to 7 beanbags. These are the beanbag ghosts. The game can be played in two ways: 1. Divide the class into small groups with each group holding one of the beanbag ghosts. Use poly spots or traffic cones to make a square or rectangle. Each group must stay within the boundaries of this square or rectangle. 2. Play a whole class game using all the beanbags. Use the perimeter of a basketball or volleyball court as the boundary lines. For either game:
Rules: Choose two ghosts for each beanbag in play. Choose one of the two ghosts to begin the game holding the beanbag ghost. That person (ghost) may not move. The ghosts without the beanbags may move anywhere, but must keep one hand high in the air to indicate that thet are ghosts. The beanbag may be passed (tossed or thrown) from ghost to ghost until a tag is made with the beanbag ghost or the ghost's free hand. When tagged, that player becomes a ghost. The idea is to be the last or one of the last players not tagged. All ghosts not in possession of a beanbag ghost may move, but they must always have one hand up in the air except when attempting to catch the beanbag ghost. As soon as they catch the ghost, they may not move, but may only reach out and try to tag the closest person to them.
Variations:

  1. Vary the locomotor skills the humans may use to escape from the ghosts.
  2. The humans must manipulate a piece of equipment. For example, dribble a basketball while fleeing from the ghosts. When tagged, they put the basketball away and re-enter the game as a ghost.

Gourd Pass - Grades k and up - Buy some inexpensive gourds from a farm stand or nursery. Give each group of 5 or 6 players one gourd. Each group forms a circle. When the music begins (hopefully holiday music), pass the gourd around the circle in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion. When the music stops, the player holding the gourd gets one point (points are negative), and moves to a new circle. The idea is to get the least amount of points. To add movement - generally a good idea - instead of forming a circle, have each group form two lines facing each other. The lines should be about 20 feet apart. The person with the gourd is in front of one of the lines. When the music begins, she or he runs to the opposite line, hands the gourd to the first person on line and goes to the end of the line. Continue in this manner. When the music stops, the person with the gourd receives the negative point. Hand the gourd to the next person, go to the end of the line and wait for the music to begin again.

Crossing the Graveyard - Grades 2 and up - Divide the class into teams of two or three. Give each team one piece of equipment that may be tossed or thrown. Scatter plastic bowling pins, tennis ball cans, or upside down traffic cones throughout the play area. This equipment represents the graves. The teams begin on either side of the graveyard - perhaps the end lines of a basketball court. On the go signal, each team attempts to go back and forth across the graveyard without toppling any of the graves. The person with the piece of equipment may not move. His or her partner(s) may move. If the equipment is dropped, the whole team must go back to the end line they just came from. If a grave is toppled, that person must re-set it, and the team who toppled the grave must go back to the last end line they just came from. Each time the whole team successfully crosses the graveyard without toppling a grave or dropping the equipment, they receive one point. See how many points each team can acquire in a given amount of time. Then either re-arrange the teams or see if each team can beat their best score in the next round. To make the game more extravagant, print Halloween certificates, and give them out as each team scores points. See how many certificates each team can earn in a given amount of time.

Character Fun - Grades k - 2 - Place index cards with the names of Halloween characters under poly spots or traffic cones. For kindergarten, draw a simple diagram along with the word. The students begin by moving throughout general space. Employ all the different locomotor skills except running. Play some kind of Halloween music. When the music stops, each student picks up a cone and looks under it. He or she replaces the index card. When the music begins, each student interprets the way they think their character would move. When the music stops, move to a different cone. See how many different characters each student can interpret before the end of the game. Variation: Character Tag - Grades 1 - 3 - For each round call out the name of one character. That character is it. For example, if you called out witch, anyone who drew a witch card would move like a witch and try to tag other players. If tagged, that player becomes a witch and helps tag others until the round is over.

Guess the Halloween Character - Grades k - 3
1. Place the names of several Halloween characters on large oak tag or card board. You can also use a chalkboard or smartboard if available. For kindergarten, draw a simple diagram along with the word. The students begin in scatter formation (personal space). Choose one student to come to the front and be the guesser. She or he hides his or her eyes. Hold up a character or write the name on the board. When the music begins, everyone interprets the way they think that character would move. The guesser has only one try to identify the type of character. If successful, he or she picks the next guesser. If unsuccessful, the leader or teacher picks the next guesser.
2. Choose one person to be the leader while the guesser hides his or her eyes. Hold up the leaders hand so everyone except the guesser can see whom the leader is. When the music begins the leader chooses a Halloween character to interpret. Everyone must move the way the leader is moving, but not follow directly behind the leader. The leader must change Halloween characters at least four times in one minute. Encourage the leader to count silently to 10 and change characters when she or he reaches 10. The guesser tries to figure out who the leader is. When the guesser thinks she or he knows, you stop the music and everyone stands still. If the guesser is correct, she or he chooses the next leader. Either way the previous leader becomes the new guesser. If no guess is made in one minute, stop the music and choose a new leader.
For this game to work well, you must do some preliminary work. Begin by either having the students move throughout general space using various locomotor skills, or move throughout general space interpreting various Halloween characters. Then choose one leader. Play follow the leader, but make sure the students are not following directly behind the leader, but rather moving throughout general space and using their peripheral vision to see when the leader changes movement. If they follow directly behind the leader, the guessing game becomes too easy. Also encourage the leader to change movement skills every time he or she counts silently to 10

Trick or Treat - Grades: 3 and up - This holiday game provides a thematic way to increase passing and receiving skills as well as throwing for accuracy. There are many great variations as well. There are more holiday games in my book, including more Halloween games: Fun, Fitness, and Skills - The Powerful Original Games Approach. Powerful Original Games

The game:

  • Divide the class into groups of three or four. Make sure to have one piece of equipment for each group and one target for each group.
  • Give each group a ball, bean bag or some other implement that can be passed, tossed, or thrown between players.
  • Tape hula hoops to the wall all around the gymnasium or play area. These hoops represent the homes that the Trick or Treaters will visit. You should have the same number of homes as groups so that there will be a judge standing near each hoop home.
  • Place a container of treats under each hoop. Treats may be anything you have a lot of. For example: pennies, play money, pencils, colored disks, tennis balls, etc. Place three poly spots in front of each hoop at varying distances from the hoop. The closest hoop is worth one treat, the middle hoop is worth two treats, and the furthest hoop is worth three treats.
  • One person from each group is a judge. The judge stands near a hoop. The other players are the trick or treaters. They begin next to their home hoop. This is the hoop where one member of their group is a judge. One person from each group holds the implement to pass.
  • On the "go" signal (use some Halloween music), each group must move to a hoop home. Anyone without a tossing implement may move. While holding a tossing implement, you may not move. After tossing it to one of your partners, you may then move, but the person who caught it must remain still until he or she tosses it again. If the implement drops, the entire group must go back to their starting point (hoop home). You may not get treats from your own home - the hoop where a member of your group is the judge.
  • When someone catches the implement while standing on a poly spot, he or she should attempt to throw it into the hoop on the wall. If the judge thinks the implement hit the wall inside the hoop, that judge gives the group the appropriate number of treats. The judge then picks up that poly spot and takes it out of the game.
  • You only get one attempt. Hit or miss, the group must move to a new home (hoop) unless this hoop is the only one left with poly spots.
  • When all or most of the poly sports are picked up the round is over. Alternately, you can time each round for a given amount of minutes. Count the number of treats each group has obtained. Replace the treats and the poly spots and pick a new judge from each group.

Variations:

  1. Play to see which group accumulates the most treats.
  2. Play cooperatively: See how long it takes to eliminate all the poly spots and try to beat the time in the next round.
  3. Vary the distances of the poly sports with each new round. They do not have all by the same distance away from each home.
  4. Use different types of implements to pass, toss or throw, depending on what skill you would like to work on.
  5. Give each group a different kind of implement to pass, and change implements with another group after each round. See which implement is the easiest or hardest to work with.
  6. Work on a specific skill. For example, each group has a basketball and must attempt a bounce pass between group members. Or each group has a soccer ball and must pass and trap it between group members. When playing this or other specific variations, you may have an additional throwing implement at each hoop home that will be easier to throw at the target.
  7. Instead of a hoop attached to the wall, place buckets on the floor, use bean bags as the implement, and have group members attempt to toss the bean bags into the bucket.
  8. Use any kind of target instead of hula hoops. For example, use basketball hoops. Groups must shoot from the poly spots and sink a basket to get the treats. Or set up a bowling pin and have groups attempt to roll a ball or slide a bean bag at the pin.